Casino Architecture: The Future in 10 Defining Buildings

Jim Morris
Updated on
Jim Morris

Jim Morris

Jim Morris loves to travel and visit a lot of architecture sites worldwide. He shares lots of information and is always looking forward to the next article on interior design, architecture and landscaping.
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Major casino resorts often make striking impressions with their bold architecture. The aim of a casino, to a degree, is to draw attention, so it's not surprising that their creators invest heavily in innovative, eye-catching designs. Some may view casinos as a bit antiquated, but many of the world's most luxurious resorts contradict this view. Despite sometimes flashy features and attractions, these buildings show off cutting-edge design and their architectural style can sometimes resemble futuristic additions to a city skyline.

In the past couple of years as more casinos have continued to spring up around the world, striking projects have been built to demonstrate casino architecture in its very shine.

1. Casino La Seyne

©Javier Callejas

Casino La Seyne is a fascinating construction at La Seyne-sur-Mer in the South of France. It’s built right along the water and designed to embody the same spirit of the former shipyards, docks, and warehouses that once lined the same area. Visually it is a wide, relatively low, and geometrically simple building, said to resemble a great, docked ship from certain angles. It is only up close that you notice some of its sleek, glass-walled sides. The casino is also situated beautifully, in between an active marina and a new public park, as well as near a newly opened hotel. It’s all in all casino architecture that suits its environment to perfection.

2. Rivera Hotel and Casino Complex

©Jose Pampin

In all sorts of ways, this is a fascinating casino complex. To begin with, it’s located in the Uruguayan city of Rivera, which is connected to the Brazilian town of Santana do Livramento, effectively comprising a cross-border connected zone. In addition to being situated right at this border, the Rivera Hotel and Casino Complex accomplishes three purposes with a dynamic design: it revamps an existing casino, incorporates a theater, and links to a four-star hotel just across the street. In accomplishing these purposes, the full design links the more contemporary hotel with the more vintage casino, with visitors quite literally able to walk between them via a transparent walkways suspended a few floors above street level.

3. Casino and Hotel Ovalle

©Felipe Díaz Contardo

Today, Chile’s Limari Valley is known as an oasis of natural beauty and amazing landscapes, as well as an excellent wine producing region. Once upon a time though, the ancients who lived in this region made their homes in gullies throughout this region and its hills and plateaus. And that’s the image the design of the Casino and Hotel Ovalle attempts to capture and build upon. This is a starkly beautiful construction, almost monolithic and giving the impression that rooms and halls were simply carved out of the grey stone that comprises most of the building. The effect, despite its ancient roots, is almost puzzlingly modern.

4. Costa Brava Gran Casino

©Adrià Goulà

Here we have a defining casino architecture ultra-modern complex in Lloret de Mar, Spain, northeast of Barcelona along the coast. It’s a casino that was built with a heavy focus on environmental preservation, sandwiched between beautiful gardens and a more urban part of the city. Accordingly, the casino is built almost like a gigantic slab of granite emerging naturally from the ground and rising to face the more developed part of its surroundings. Up its back, so to speak, and on its roof however, the landscaping of the surrounding gardens continues to minimize the interruption of nature that would have occurred with any other style of construction. Facing the street is the largely glass exterior of the main floor of the casino, though the complex also extends underground.

5. Montrond-les-Bains Casino

©Javier Callejas

This is another French casino, located in Montrond-les-Bains on the Loire River, west of Lyon. And it’s one of the more interesting designs we’re covering here. This casino is comprised of six different buildings of varying sizes, all essentially large blocks, with walls and ceilings of aluminum, composite materials, and glass. The six blocks are also connected by shared, transparent ceilings, making it easy to move between them such that together they make up one united complex. The thinking behind the design is apparently that the casino could easily expand into the open surroundings via the simple construction of additional connected units.

6. Chaves Hotel Casino

©Sérgio Ferreira, Profoto

Located in the charming town of Chaves, Portugal - which is known as a spa town steeped in history - this casino looks almost like an enlarged version of someone’s personal, modern mansion. There’s a lot to this design, but it was reportedly built to symbolize both the people arriving in Chaves and those leaving it, as it’s situated right at the edge of the city. The result is a casino that shows itself in different ways at different levels, sometimes disappearing underground, sometimes opening up to view.

7. Revival of the Casino Montréal

©Stephane Groleau

Casino de Montréal, located in Montreal, Canada, is extremely difficult to describe. Originally a construction for the World Exposition in 1967 and renovated as a casino multiple times in the ‘90s, its latest revival has made it a state-of-the-art casino architecture complex, and one full of curving halls, rounded rooms, and an exterior that looks like a giant semi-metallic sculpture over the river. The core of the casino is comprised of tiered, circular central areas occupying several floors, but there is a complex network of additional public spaces looping and shooting off of these circles at each level.

8. Talca Hotel & Casino

©Rodrigo Duque Motta

Our second Chilean selection, the Talca Hotel & Casino is located in the city of Talca, which is in yet another wine region (and one backed by stunning snowcapped mountains). It’s a project that actually could have wound up looking like something of a mess, given that various aspects of the complex were already in place on the grounds before the design. However, some creative design has made it all look quite modern, and deceptively organized. The key to the design is an exterior facade that serves as a sort of cloak for the entire building, offering peeks at its tiered, sectioned interior, but not providing a full look at all that lies within. This same cloak has a wonderful effect of accentuating the lights showing from within as well, such that at night the casino is something of a well-lit beacon rising from street level.

9. Morpheus Hotel

©Ivan Dupont

The Morpheus Hotel is not its own casino, but rather the hotel portion of the famous City Of Dreams resort in Macau, China. It’s the tallest building yet on this list, reaching 42 storeys above Macau, and its entire exterior is wrapped in a sort of looped, web-like carving that spreads out over the otherwise windowed exterior and is meant to call to mind China’s traditional jade carvings. When you look closely you’ll see some little alcoves and gaps in the building’s construction, though from a distance and from certain angles it seems more uniform. It’s the sort of design that’s more interesting each time you see a new photo of it.

10. The Venetian Macau

©Aedas

Staying in Macau we’ll also make note of The Venetian, perhaps the most famous casino on this list and one that’s been ranked the second most impressive in the world by at least one publication. It’s a sprawling resort complex, and a sister resort of the legendary Venetian in Las Vegas. Its design is somewhat fascinating. Despite being absolutely massive it’s a fairly intricate casino architecture construction, displaying a beautiful blend of “old world” architecture inspired by Venice itself, and a distinctly modern look. The interior is perhaps a little bit more gimmicky with the Venetian theme, but the exterior and the extensive grounds leave you caught, wonderfully, between eras of history.

Jim Morris

About the author

Jim Morris

Jim Morris loves to travel and visit a lot of architecture sites worldwide. He shares lots of information and is always looking forward to the next article on interior design, architecture and landscaping.
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